We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!
Pumpkin pie, Christmas cookies, potato latkes, mashed potatoes and gravy . . . We're all guilty of overindulging in December but getting back on track doesn't have to be as difficult as it sounds. It may take weeks to melt away those post-holiday pounds but it's easy to create the illusion you haven't gained an ounce simply by improving your posture.
"Most of us spend way too much time slumped in front of computers, slouched at steering wheels or vegging out in front of TVs," says fitness expert Liza Savage-Katz. "It collapses lung space which restricts our breath, affects our mood and cuts off proper nerve and blood supply to the brain."
To counteract these bad habits, Savage-Katz recommends a few "very simple exercises kind of like sucking in your stomach" to "carry your body as nature intended." You'll instantly look as if you've dropped five pounds. Add these three moves to your daily routine to "strengthen your abdominals, improve your posture and strengthen your back."
Get the moves after the break.
Natural Stance/ Neutral Spine: Find your natural stance then position your feet hip-distance apart. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and take a good look at your general posture from a side view. The ideal head position has your ear lined up directly over the shoulder. We all have a slight natural "S" shape to our spine but assess whether your neck is protruding forward and the shoulders are rounding in, warning signs of slouching.
Inhale: From your natural stance, roll your shoulders back then down, activating your upper back and opening up your chest and heart space. Keep your ears over your shoulders and your chin parallel to the ground, gazing forward. Take a deep inhalation through the nose filling up your diaphragm for three to six seconds until your belly feels completely full.
Exhale: Slowly exhale through the mouth until your diaphragm is completely empty for three to six seconds. As you do so, tuck your tailbone and squeeze your lower abdominal area until you feel your belly tighten and pull back towards your spine. Your spine will look straight and your belly is fully engaged. Come back to a neutral spine and natural stance. Repeat ten times focusing on deep, long, slow inhalations and exhalations.